The former owner of a corner shop in Grantham and his assistant have been prosecuted by Lincolnshire Trading Standards for selling illegal and counterfeit tobacco.
In May 2014, officers joined forces with HM Revenue and Customs and the Lincolnshire Police Licensing Team to search Biedronka, in Wharf Road. The authorities found 3,300 foreign-labelled cigarettes in a toilet at the back of a shop behind a mirror. Some of the items were later confirmed as counterfeit along with 1kg of hand rolling tobacco.
The owner of the shop at the time was Deria Hamad, 38. He pleaded guilty to the offences and was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work, pay £1,400 towards legal costs and a £60 victim surcharge.
His assistant, Awara Abdul, 26, also pleaded guilty. He was ordered to complete 140 hours of community service, contribute £700 towards legal costs and pay a £60 victim surcharge.
Trading Standards have been given permission to destroy the cigarettes.
Daniel Brown, of Lincolnshire Trading Standards, said: “We welcome this prosecution and we are determined to put a stop to illegal tobacco being supplied and sold here in Lincolnshire. We regularly act on intelligence received from local residents and we believe that people are beginning to understand this activity is damaging to their communities.
“Illegal cigarettes can often be linked to organised crime and they are much more likely to start a fire as they don’t self-extinguish.
“Counterfeit tobacco is also a concern as there’s really no telling what rubbish they could contain. We would advise people against taking their chances of smoking what could be dirt, rodent droppings or insects.”
If you know where illegal, fake or duty free goods such as cigarettes are being sold please call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.